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New designs will be sought for the multi-million-pound redevelopment of Station Approach in Winchester.

Winchester City Council’s Cabinet agreed (7 September) to seek fresh plans for creating offices, shops, homes, parking and public spaces at the Cattle Market and Carfax sites near the city’s railway station.

Cabinet confirmed its commitment to the principle of regenerating the area and to the original design brief.

Cllr Stephen Godfrey, the Leader of Winchester City Council, said: “This decision demonstrates the importance of Station Approach to the city and the Council.

“The architectural competition did not produce consensus over the leading design and members were not convinced that it could be adapted sufficiently within procurement rules.

“Cabinet believes that both bidders are firms of significant standing and expertise.  However, members felt that whilst the winning bidder could change its current design to meet the issues identified, under the current procurement process it might not be legally possible to make those changes.  Accordingly, Cabinet does not rule out the possibility of Bidder B or any of the other tenderers being invited to tender again under the new procurement.”

Cllr Godfrey added: “The Council has listened to people’s views and shown flexibility in its approach.  I hope that those who are passionate about what is right for Winchester will also show willingness to compromise as we move forward so that we can deliver this much-needed improvement.

“At Cabinet we heard a heartfelt plea from one Winchester businessman who risks losing his rented offices to housing development, highlighting the urgent need for the type of scheme we are proposing at Station Approach.”

New designs for Station Approach are likely to be sought by advertising for an architect instead of through a design competition and will involve the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Competition Office.

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